International Student Living Etiquette Guide
Almost 1 in 5 students in the UK are from the EU or further afield – our university culture boasts students from every corner of the world.
As the student population grows more multicultural by the year, we find ourselves living and studying with new friends of all nationalities, from China to the USA, from India to Italy. At first, this mixed bunch of cultural habits can cause confusion and some awkward encounters as we learn to make sense of each other’s behaviours.
As a global student accommodation provider, we have talked to students from across the world to better understand their own country’s student culture and put together a few themes around the traditions of our overseas friends.
Freshmen – first year students in the US – have a pretty different experience to Freshers in the UK. Since they can’t (legally!) drink until they’re 21, alcohol is pretty much non-existent on campus, so you won’t find any cheap deals in the campus bar when watching the latest American Football or Basketball game.
Pub culture is just as popular with many German students as it us amongst us Brits – make sure you invite them to your next pub quiz! Students in Germany don’t usually have to pay for transport (they can use their student card for unlimited free travel) so remind them to bring change for the bus home.
Bars in Spain stay open pretty late, so your Spanish friends might find it strange to head home from the club so early. They might know how to whip up an amazing paella dish though – one of Spanish students’ most popular meals – with a jug of sangria – why not suggest a night in for dinner and drinks?
Many students in France rent a flat by themselves in their city or town centre, rather than living in halls. Help your French flatmates get used to living in halls for getting together for l’apéro – enjoying nibbles and drinking wine in the evening.
In 2015/16, 14% more Italians students came to study in the UK than in the year before. Make your new mates from Italy welcome by greeting them correctly! In Central and Southern Italy, people greet each other with two kisses on the cheek whilst they’re more formal in the North and shake hands.
Sjaars – Dutch first year students – might be shocked at the length our UK holidays, as Dutch students get a maximum of two weeks off at once during term time. Why not make the most them by planning a holiday together?
Many Japanese students like to stay focused during lectures so try not to chat to them too much. However, in Japan students are used to heading down to their local Izakaya – a type of gastropub – after uni. Invite them to the union bar with you after lectures!
Almost 4% of the UK’s student population consists of students from India. If they were studying at home, they’d be used to eating in the mess hall of their catered student accommodation. How about arranging to meet up at lunch?
Learning a language so different to your own is incredibly difficult, and many Chinese students may be worried to speak English in case they get it wrong. Offer to help your friends learn (maybe in exchange for some cookery tips – popular rice dishes are a staple of Chinese students’ diets, learn how to make one!).
You might be baffled to see your Aussie mate in flip flops in winter, enjoy a bit of Marmite on toast. The Australian seasons are opposite to ours (their summer is our winter!) and Vegemite, their version of Marmite, is the country’s most popular student breakfast dish.
Rugby is the country’s national sport and the All Blacks are the current world champs. Challenge your Kiwi mates to a game to show them what the Northern hemisphere are made of! Or, as travelling is a rite of passage for New Zealand students, try something a little more relaxing and go on a tour of nearby cities.
A Bit About Our Contributor: Campus Living Villages
Campus Living Villages works with 60 education institutions across the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. With over 40,000 beds worldwide, they know how a great residential community can take your uni experience from uneventful to unforgettable.